How to Stop Heartburn in Its Tracks

Pyrosis, more commonly known as heartburn, can be very painful for the person that suffers with it. When I was pregnant I kept a pack of Tums on me at all times. Thankfully I don't get heartburn anymore, but my daughter suffers terribly. Heartburn can manifest itself as complaints of chest pain, sore throat, and upper back pain.

The best way to eliminate heartburn is to avoid the food and drinks that may stimulate it. You may be suffering from heartburn if you drink caffeinated drinks, such as tea, coffee and a host of carbonated beverages. Foods that are high in fat, such as milk products, lemons, oranges, and grapefruit. If you suffer from heartburn your doctor may ask you to stay away from the foods and drinks just mentioned, and you may also need to stay away from tomatoes and tomato based products, such as spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, and marinara sauces. You may also have to say goodbye to all forms of chocolate, whether in candy, chocolate milk, puddings, and cakes. The best thing you can do is to eat smaller meals. It's better to eat smaller meals more frequently than to eat 3 large meals a day. Spacing your small meals out to 5 or 6 times a day, while eliminating excess fat, dairy, and acetic foods from your diet may be all you need to do to control or eliminate heartburn from your life.

If you smoke or drink alcoholic beverages, and you suffer from frequent heartburn it could be related to either one, or both of these habits. Smoking causes your stomach to produce more acid, and therefore you may have many episodes of heartburn. Besides heartburn being a factor of smoking, stomach cancer is also a big risk, especially if you feel frequent heartburn. The worst thing you can do if you have frequent heartburn is to drink alcohol, because this can lead to a pancreatic inflammatory process that can feel very much like heartburn. By quitting both of these substances, tobacco and alcohol you may be able to nip your heartburn in the bud. When I smoked I had frequent heartburn. I was uncomfortable all the time. When I quit smoking my heartburn went away and I have never been bothered again with it.

By making a conscious effort to remove the stresses from your everyday life can go a long way to stop the attacks of heartburn. When you stay stressed your body produces more stomach acid, along with a hormone called cortisol, and adrenalin. Stress causes a never ending supply of stomach acid, because the body reacts to stress by creating more cortisol, and more adrenalin, which causes more stomach acid, which in turn causes more heartburn.

You may do everything right and still get heartburn; it happens. If making a concerted effort to live a stress free life, eating well, quitting smoking, and abstaining from alcohol hasn't taken your heartburn away, you should see your doctor for an evaluation of your symptoms. Your doctor may want to rule out other problems before treating you for heartburn, since some diseases can mimic the symptoms of heartburn.

Should you be suffering with heartburn, and lifestyle changes have not eliminated or reduced your attacks, it is better to see your doctor than to self-medicate with products like Tums, Rolaids, Mylanta, and Maalox. These medications are good for occasional heartburn, but overuse of these medications can put you at risk of getting too many chemicals, such as aluminum, magnesium hydroxide, sodium carbonate, and bismuth subsalicylate in your body that can interfere with your body's many systems.


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Harriet Steinberg
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Posted on Apr 15, 2009